I love the big dramatic springs too . . . but there is something just as special about the smaller ones. Lane Spring is south of Rolla off Highway 63, and it’s hard to beat for quiet beauty.
I had the good fortune to publish two poems about Lane Spring in Ozark Review, way back when. The first was in the Winter 1978 edition, entitled “Lane Spring Psalm” by Gene Doty, and it goes like this:
naos of jewelweed
& poison ivy
oak branches gargoyled with vines
hickory & redbud
caryatids of poke & walnut
a living clerestory
admits vibrant light
leaves of light & shadow
out of earth & rock, wet,
cold & clear among cress
white sand speckled with black snails
this hollow the fane
of a shy spirit
whose naiads flow unseen:
nourish my spirit
a spring rising hidden
among trees & weeds
I stand at the threshold
seeking a way
a jeep in the parking lot starts
children shriek & splash
in the cold water
the god of this spring
deflects the psalm I raise
to praise his dark clarity
his bright surface reflects my voice
and when I wade the stream
my ankles ache with his chant
to the God of all springs
wet cold & holy
The second is a response poem entitled “On Reading ‘Lane Spring Psalm,’ by Patricia Julian Morrow, published in the Winter 1979 issue:
On a bank of impatiens and poison ivy
You have caught a site for prayer,
A sight of god. There’s a fine irony that
Donne would have spun into a fine web
To catch the bumbling heart and Voltaire
Cranky, eloquent, braided into a welting lash for it.
I had never thought the figuration for a throne
Of grace must be jasper, amber, gold,
There seemed no need for such, shall I say, gaudy,
But I, as common, looked to a clump of yellow roses,
To the failing facts of a March icicle.
Now I must look further perhaps or closer.
I remember once I walked on the road
Right past the Castalian spring, eyes on the mountain,
Never noticing that the gift of the god
Had offered itself in that low place.
What gift did he bear, do you think, he was was given
Through the bright opacity of gnarling gray olive,
Of sun-returning stone, of vivid brown water
To first sight that dark cold pure rushing?
Two lovely poems. Visit a spring when you can. The photo, by the way, is by Charlie Gill of the U.S. Forest Service.